Youth in business: The next gen of Nova Scotia entrepreneurs
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Entrepreneurs and small businesses play a key role in Nova Scotia’s economy and are an integral part of its future. With that in mind, how do we help create the next generation of Nova Scotian entrepreneurs? How do we arm today’s students with the global perspective today’s business leaders need?
At Junior Achievement Nova Scotia (JANS), a member of Junior Achievement Canada, business-focused initiatives aim to do just that. Each year, students across the province participate in various JANS programs, getting exposure to topics like financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and workplace readiness.
For the past several years, Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) has worked with students through the Company Program – an 18-week learning experience where students launch, grow, and manage a small business of their own. This year, the group from Citadel High and Gorsebrook Junior High met weekly with NSBI volunteer advisors on how to start their business, Scotia Surprise. The students designed and developed everything from the product idea and brand name to the sourcing and distribution strategy.
“We had a lot of discussion about what sort of company we were going to start and realized that themed boxes are trendy right now. We also wanted to support local, so we came up with the idea of the Scotia Surprise box,” says the group.
Scotia Surprise is a shoe-box sized package, filled with four to five made-in-Nova Scotia items. The students reached out to local producers, such as Acadian Maple, Humani-T Café, and Rudy’s Hot Sauce to be suppliers. They’ve sold the surprise boxes at trade fairs and pop-up booths throughout the Halifax Regional Municipality, gaining real-world experience about sales, promotions and finding customers.
While following the regular JANS curriculum, NSBI program advisors add a global lens to topics like sales and marketing, encouraging students to consider exporting right away as part of their overall selling strategy.
“JA Nova Scotia is happy to once again partner with Nova Scotia Business Inc. in the delivery of our Company Program. With a strong focus on export and global business, they are the perfect incubator for helping to prepare youth to succeed in a global economy, which is what Junior Achievement is all about! The diversity of this particular group has encouraged the Achievers to think globally, and with the support of the Nova Scotia Business Inc. team they have explored what it means to run a business from Nova Scotia that benefits those outside our borders,” shares Courtney Connor, Director of Entrepreneurship & Specialty Programs at J.A. Nova Scotia.
Students also get to develop their teambuilding skills and learn how to work with others, which often includes those from different schools, age groups, and cultures.
“The [Company] Program was really good practice for running a company and showed us what it takes to start a business. We learned a lot about group work, responsibility and the importance of relationships in business. We learned a lot through trial and error,” the group confirms.
While Achievers learn critical business skills and lessons, incorporating an added global perspective helps students learn another very important lesson; you can run almost any business from Nova Scotia, while selling to customers around the world.
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